|Knowing that today's temperature was going to get into the 100's, I decided it was best if I went to the Real Alcázar as early as possible. I arrived fairly early at about 11:00, and at that point it was 97°, but unlike the heat we feel in Indiana, this was a very dry 97°, so it was actually bearable. Regardless, I found myself downing multiple bottles of water just so I wouldn't get dehydrated.
The Real Alcázar is a royal palace that was originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings. It's renowned as one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain and is often considered one of the most outstanding examples of mudéjar architecture on the Iberian Peninsula. Just taking a walk through the Alcázar feels a lot like walking through the Alhambra, which I did last Friday. If I were to compare the two, I would say there's a grandeur to the Alhambra that exceeds that of the Alcázar, but that doesn't discredit the beauty of the Alcázar. It's a beautifully designed structure that features a lot of the same attributes as the Alhambra: tiled and etched walls, fountains, grandiose arches, lush gardens, and elaborate ceilings. I did enjoy the gardens a lot at the Alcázar, while the rest of the palace was a smaller version of the Alhambra.
The place that I found to be the most intriguing was the Baños de María. It was here that the inhabitants could go beneath the palace into the baños, which were dug into the earth to escape the brutal heat of summers. It was a long corridor with a shallow pool of water where, I assume, the Moors would bathe. Walking into this area was really the only time that I felt true awe. I hope I'm not being desensitized to these experiences, because I really do enjoy getting to see all these places. I am truly humbled to have these experiences to be able to see these places that I wouldn't be able to see anywhere in the United States!
I finished up at the Alcázar a few hours later and wanted to grab a quick lunch. I made my way towards the back of the Catedral de Sevilla, which I visited yesterday, and found a tapas bar that was serving croquetas. I had been craving them since yesterday, and they had a small portion for 2,95 €, so I was sure they'd hit the spot. Unfortunately, they weren't fresh, and the insides were a little cold. Even still, I was hungry, so I ate them and enjoyed them. It was about 2:00 when I finished lunch, and I knew I should head back to the apartment to stay out of the impending rise in temperature that was coming.
And it came! I took a siesta for a little bit and then opted to stay indoors until about 6:30pm. I decided to brave the heat so I could find something to eat. Surprisingly, the heat didn't feel too bad. I'm used to heat that is thick and humid, but this wasn't that. It felt very warm on the skin, but it wasn't uncomfortable. I'd hate to feel what this heat would feel like in Indianapolis!
I ended up going to Corte Inglés to look around for a while before deciding to eat upstair at the Gourmet Experience. In every city I've been to there's been a Corte Ingés, which is basically a huge department store that has various floors for all your shopping needs. Women's clothes on the first floor, market in the basement, electronics and toys on the fifth floor, home repair on the third. What's interesting about the Corte Inglés shopping centers is that they're broken into multiple buildings which are all located near each other. Well, that's been my experience with them in Madrid and here in Sevilla. I guess the merchandise is too big for the real estate? In any case, I enjoyed looking around the different floors and seeing what there was to possibly purchase.
Tomorrow I plan to have a leisurely morning before getting on the train in the afternoon. I didn't get around to using the Moka pot to make a café con leche this morning, so that will be my first order of business. I'm not sure what tomorrow evening will entail, but I expect it to be leisurely since I have to get up early Sunday morning to head to Segovia. In other news, I wish I could be in the States today to celebrate history being made for equality! #lovewins